Good morning, everyone, and welcome to the Studiolo! I am so excited to be taking part in the blog tour for my friend Jenifer Dick‘s Modern Applique Workbook today! As an introductory caveat: I will try hard not to finish every sentence with an exclamation point, but those who have read my blog before will know that I can be a little exuberant in the punctuation department.
As my regular readers know, I am an appliqué enthusiast. When others say they haven’t tried appliqué because they are intimidated, I both am a little mystified and feel a camaraderie, since that is the same way that I feel about piecing. For me, appliqué allows a freedom of expression that can’t be beat–you can cut out and apply any shape you want to a quilt top without having to worry about straight (or curved!) seams. Yes, there is the question of how to finish the edges of your appliqué shapes, but Jenifer’s book offers fantastically detailed instructions on one possible solution–invisible machine appliqué.
I’ve been making and designing appliqué quilts using my own raw-edge techniques for about four years, now (if you count the period where I had started but not finished any quilts). For some reason, I always figured that turned-edge appliqué would require handwork. I’m not averse to hand-sewing, but I have come to appreciate the difference in speed that using my machine offers, especially when I have a large number of shapes to stitch down. In this context, I loved learning about Jenifer’s technique for invisible machine-sewn turned-edge appliqué. In her book, Jenifer coaches us through the process of transferring templates to freezer paper to fabric, turning the edges under, and stitching the shapes to the background using invisible polyester thread and a tiny zig-zag stitch.
She also provides a fantastic section on materials that are useful for applique. I am dying to try clear polyester thread after reading Jenifer’s description, and, although I’ve made many successful quilts without starch, I’m pretty sure Jenifer’s book has converted me to a spray starcher.
Although Jenifer’s book concentrates on her turned-edge invisible machine appliqué technique, she also includes a section on different ways of stitching down the appliqués. To me, the variety of techniques and edge finishes is one of the lovely things about appliqué, and so I was happy to see Jenifer describe and include photos of some alternative techniques and machine appliqué stitches. I also really loved her inclusion of some intermediate and advanced applique techniques, including a great section about using bias and straight-grain tape. I also particularly enjoyed the section on preparing layered patterns, and hope to try those techniques in the future.
Throughout her book’s technique and project chapters, Jenifer includes the clear, detailed instructions of a veteran craft book author. In fact, she published several other appliqué books before this one, but they may not be as well known to us modern quilters because of their more traditional content (and the more traditional reputation that appliqué has had until relatively recently).
I asked Jenifer what inspired her to write a book on modern appliqué quilting, and she had this to say:
“I first heard about modern quilting probably about 2009. I ran across it online (like most of us!)….About a year after that, I watched it evolve into a more graphic-design oriented movement and saw what some of the great modern designers were doing…That’s when I started gravitating toward it and my quilts started changing to be more modern. Then in 2011, I published my first modern book – Quilt Retro. I call it modern, but it’s more of a hybrid. There’s some very traditional stuff in there but it looks modern by just tweaking a few things here and there.
“Since then, I’ve found that my style of modern is really modern traditionalism. I’m too entrenched in tradition to turn my back on it completely, but I love the principals of modern quilting. Blending them together is just what I love best!
“The Modern Applique Workbook came about because I saw a need in modern to expand into applique. I have been an appliquer for a long time and developed my method over the years. When I started making modern quilts, of course I incorporated appliqué into the mix and soon realized that not a lot of others were appliquéing modern. I thought here’s an opportunity for modern quilters to expand and open up a whole new area of quilting. I hope they agree and join in on the appliqué fun!”
On a more serious note, I also love that Jenifer touches on copyright in her book. Appliqué presents so many possibilities for the modern (and traditional) quilter, and the wealth of images available online make it so tempting to just grab an image and turn it into an appliqué. At the same time, we always need to remember that an individual is behind the existence of each of those images, and I love that Modern Applique Workbook makes a note of this with regards to modifying commercial patterns. As designers, and customers of designers, we all have a stake in preserving copyright, and it’s refreshing to see this reinforced in a popular crafting book.
I am so thrilled to be a part of this blog tour, especially because it has such a fantastic line-up! If you’re interested in finding out more about the Modern Applique Workbook, check out some of these additional posts.
Feb. 10: Bonnie Hunter www.quiltville.blogspot.com
Feb. 11: Amy Smart www.diaryofaquilter.com
Feb. 12: Angela Walters www.quiltingismytherapy.com/my-blog
Feb. 13: Debbie Grifka www.eschhousequilts.com
Feb. 14: Tammie Schaffer www.craftytammie.com
Feb. 17: Casey York www.studioloblog.wordpress.com
Feb. 18: Deb Rowden www.debrowden.blogspot.com
Feb. 19: Melissa Thompson Maher @ Generation Q magazine http://generationqmagazine.com/
Feb. 20: Shea Henderson www.emptybobbinsewing.com
Feb. 21: Diane Harris @ Quiltmaker Magazine http://www.quiltmaker.com/blogs/quiltypleasures/
Stash Books has generously offered me a free copy of Jenifer’s book to give away to a lucky reader. If you’re in the US, you’ll get a print copy, and if you’re an international reader, you’ll get an electronic version (complete with full-size printable applique templates). Just leave a comment below. I’ll randomly pick a winner a week from today (February 24). If you can’t wait until then to get your hands on a copy of Jenifer’s book, it’s available on Amazon or you can purchase an autographed copy directly from her here!